Courts & Crime

Former leader of boys choir at Missouri abbey admits sexual misconduct

A former Benedictine monk who directed a boys choir at a northwest Missouri abbey in the 1980s admitted on Thursday that he had inappropriate sexual relations with several members of the group.

Bede Parry, who led the Abbey Boy Choir of Conception Abbey from 1982 to 1987, told The Kansas City Star that he had sexual contact with five or six of the choir members as well as a student at a Minnesota university.

One of the former choir members filed a lawsuit on Thursday, contending that Parry molested him in 1987 during a summer camp at the abbey.

The lawsuit, filed against Conception Abbey by a Missouri man under the name John Doe 181, alleges that the abbey knew that Parry had sexually abused other students prior to abusing him but covered it up. Parry is not a defendant in the lawsuit, which was filed in Maryville.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages from the abbey.

“Frankly, those allegations, most of them are true,” Parry said in a phone interview with The Star from Las Vegas. “As far as I’m concerned, great harm was done to those people. To lie and not recognize that would be a gross injustice to those folks.

“The whole thing is terrible. I feel so terrible. I’m just praying for everybody, and I ask for prayers.”

Most of the inappropriate sexual contact was with males over 18, Parry said. Two of the encounters, he said, involved males ages 16 to 18. He said he has not had inappropriate sexual relations since the 1987 incident.

Parry, 69, became a priest in the Episcopal church in 2004 and for the past 11 years had worked at All Saints Episcopal Church in Las Vegas, most recently holding the positions of organist, choir master and assisting priest.

He resigned Thursday and said he’d also asked to be removed from the priesthood.

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